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Kivalliq firefighters can take the heat

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 05/05) - A group of Kivalliq firefighters turned up the heat and won Nunavut's first firefighters skills competition in Rankin Inlet last month.

The competition was part of a week-long fire officers' workshop attended by 26 firefighters from nine Nunavut communities.

Members who attended the workshop included fire chiefs, officers and senior firefighters.

The course covered topics such as incident command and fire pre-planning.

The firefighters also received a full day of pump-operator instruction facilitated by Ron Lavallee of Fort Gary Industries in Winnipeg.

The company supplied the bulk of Nunavut's fire trucks currently in service.

Pump-operator training was split between classroom and practical instruction.

Rankin fire chief Rick Penner said instructors used the workshop as an opportunity to go over the monthly fire reports Nunavut fire chiefs conduct for training updates.

He said the workshop is viewed as accelerated or advanced training.

"Along with the workshop, the Nunavut Fire Officers Association met and a new executive was brought in," said Penner.

"It had long been the wish of the fire marshal's office to conduct a firefighter's rodeo similar to what goes on in southern aboriginal communities.

"Because of the timing and weather, we had to adapt the rodeo into a firefighters skills competition."

Penner said the instructors were pleased with the way the week unfolded. He said the firefighters exceeded expectations with their performance in the skills competition.

"This was our first attempt at a competition and we really didn't know how the adaptation was going to work.

"Our firefighters got some good experience from the competition and had some giggles along the way."